Titans/McNair issues

I’ve only caught the headlines on the thing with the Titans locking McNair out until they resolve his contract issues. From the bare basics I’ve picked up, it seems like the Titans are being, as Carlos Mencia would say, DE DE DE.

Before this I was always under the (possibly mistaken) impression that the Tennessee Titans were a good franchise.

Except for … maybe … the Packers, there are no good franchises.

I understand why the Titans don’t want him around right now – his contract is structured for this huge $50M roster bonus or something,and if he gets injured in camp they’re going to have one hell of an injury settlement. That said, locking him out instead of just cutting him quietly for a renegotiation is really iffy, but that’s just life in the modern NFL.

I’m generally the first to jump on the player-hater bandwagon when an athelete decides to hold out when he wants a better contract than THE ONE HE ALREADY SIGNED. I still root for Joey Galloway to crap his pants every time he takes the field, for example.

Which is why this seems so bush league. The Titans agreed to the contract. So what if it’s a bad deal for them? They shouldn’t have signed it in the first place then. Of course I’m probably extra biased in favor of McNair here because he’s the kind of athlete I love to root for. He’s tough, plays hurt, and never complains. That’s the sort of hometown hero a club needs to reward rather than act like a bunch of ratfink bastards.

Right?

The Steelers are a great franchise!

Bah – Cowher still hasn’t won a Superbowl!

The Giants are a great franchise! And Wellington Mara was a great owner.

I hear that sentiment often, and I never understand it. NFL contracts aren’t contracts in the sense that most people think of contracts. They do not really represent enforcible commitments on either side. They are full of so many out clauses that they ought be referred to as a tenative agreement to play. Why should a player feel obligated to continue under a contract when the team can void their end of the contract at any moment by cutting a player?

If NFL contracts were ironclad, and teams had to keep and pay a player the full agreed amounts for the full agreed period regardless of whether they wanted to cut him or whether he was injured, then I would be down on players who tried to play hardball and get better contracts. But until that happens, my sympathy is with the players who are getting a meatgrinder of a profession where a 10 year career is considered a long and fulfilling one.

This article is a reasonable summary of the situation, although obviously biased in McNair’s favor. The Titans don’t want to release him, but they don’t want him to get injured, so they’re basically keeping him off the FA market without letting him actually train. An interesting twist on player holdouts.

Letting that one slide, I’m not aware of the Steelers getting into any cheesy contract disputes like McNair and the Titans have.

I would actually agree the Steelers are a stand-up franchise. Heck, it’s not because Cowher is the Best Coach Ever that he’s been with the same team for so long - it’s a sign of a good franchise that they don’t make hair-trigger personnel decisions.

As a Titans fan (HUGE fan), I know a lot about this. The Titans attempted a powerplay. The problem was that Bud Adams (the owner) handled it and not Floyd Rees or Fisher (GM and HC). They were both in CA with Matt Leinart at the time. Adams wanted to protect his investment because if McNair gets hurt, we still have to pay him his ridiculous salary for this season. We won’t be able to cut him and get the nearly 10 mill in cap relief that would involve. So Adams pulled a boneheaded ploy to force McNair into a a better contract to protect his investment.

Ok, that’s the basics. Here are the details. Bus Cook, McNair’s agent, was told the day before that McNair would not be allowed to practice. He either did not tell McNair or he actually had McNair go down to the training facilities to be asked to leave. In either case, the agent wanted the Titans to look bad here. The Titans made a mistake by isolating their franchise player like this, but the PR nightmare was enhanced by Cook’s ploys.

Overall, the Titans front office is standup, but the owner is not. He’s as greedy and selfish a businessman as any other owner. And he wants to win now because he won’t be around much longer.

And if you want to say the Steelers are a good org. because they kept Cowher so long, you should also note that Fisher has been a head coach almost as long.

This is a black eye on the Titans, no doubt. But the national media is spinning in McNair’s favor, too. It really would not have been a big deal if it had been any other player and if there weren’t this strange dispute between Bus Cook and the Titans. BTW, Cook is also Favre’s agent…and I believe he will be Jay Cutler’s agent as well…just FYI.

Any specific questions?

And kudos to Cook for this. It was well handled on his part and basically showed the ownership for what it was.

Overall, the Titans front office is standup, but the owner is not. He’s as greedy and selfish a businessman as any other owner.

There is a stark difference between the ‘old owners’ and the ‘new owners’ such as Snyder, Jerry Jones, and the like. The old owners seem to care more about the integrity of the game, the newer ones treat it like a business. This is reflected in each team’s handling of players, fans, etc. (cf. Snyder’s fiasco a few years back when he wanted to start charging fans to attend practices or something like that).

Ralph Wilson has basically said as much recently as well – he feels that the newer owners just don’t give a rat’s ass about the game, and he thinks that the small franchises are simply going to die (such as Buffalo).

But the national media is spinning in McNair’s favor, too.

McNair is pretty much one of the most well respected players in the league, so it’s not a huge surprise. McNair, Favre, and other media-accessible types get a lot of unwarranted accolades. Instead of being ‘injury prone’ they ‘gut it out’, etc.

That’s not fair and you know it. Players that get slapped with the “injury prone” label are the ones that miss a bunch of practice and games due to injury. Players that “gut it out” continue to perform at a high level in spite of dealing with injuries.

Am I saying McNair is the best quarterback to ever strap on the pads? Not at all – many athletes have been more talented and more effective at the position. But the thing that makes most fans fall in love with players lilke McNair (and Favre) is the way they embody all that is great in sport: competitive drive, work ethic, courage. Heck, the very thing that drives us crazy about Favre is what we love about him: his win-or-die-trying mentality… which has for the past few seasons translated into lots of INT’s and losses.

As for McNair’s agent outmanuvering the Titans owner, more power to him. I generally hate agents and the way they seem to screw up otherwise good situations with their greed, but this sounds like a great example of an agent ‘playing the game’ in the best interest of his client in response to the dirty tricks of a dishonest owner.

McNair has been a father figure to Vince Young (whose biological father is a career criminal).

I think a lot of people feel it’s a foregone conclusion that Tenn. will take Leinart in the draft since Norm Chow is their OC, but Leinart’s not the best QB Chow ever coached, Chow’s a good friend of Mack Brown’s, and there is this personal connection between Young and McNair that, if McNair sticks around, can end up being a great situation for the franchise. On top of all that, Bud Adams gets another chance to stick it to the city of Houston, since it appears the Texans will waste a draft pick on Reggie Bush*.

But I was thinking all of this before the McNair situation arose. Now that it has, I’m a lot less sure that they’re interested in Young, and ready to buy that Leinart’s a lock.

*any team that takes this schmuck in the first round is wasting their pick, and I’m not so sure I’d take him in the second round, either

Care to back that ridiculous statement up with anything resembling fact, Rimbo? Bush is a 3rd-rounder at best? You guys and your college/pro homerism, Jesus.

Wow, I can’t believe you actually said Bush is not even worth a 2nd round pick. Was the crack particularly good this morning?

— Alan

Rimbo,

Re: Reggie Bush / Houston comments - http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=25556

:)

Bud Adams is a “new owner”? You do recall that the Tennessee Titans are the former Houston Oilers, a team Adams has owned since 1959 as a charter member of the AFL?

No, the correct answer is “Bud Adams is an asshole.” The people of Houston were sad to see the Oilers go, but were ecstatic about Adams going with them.

Yep, Damien for the win. Adams has a history of this, but he stopped for a while after moving the team to Nashville (partly because he hired a guy to be ‘president’ of the team for a while, but now he is gone and Adams is back). Fisher respects the game, but Adams? Hard to say he does, even though he is an old owner.

And McNair is injury prone, at this point. Not tough. He misses practice all the time, which really hurt the development of our young WRs last year (it wasn’t the only thing, but it was a big part). He plays on Sundays, and he’s still talented, but missing all that practice has really hurt him and the team. Frankly, the FO is sick of it.